OECD Journal on Budgeting

The OECD Journal on Budgeting is published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, academics and experts in the field and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector.

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Rationalising government fiscal reporting

Lessons learned from Australia, Canada, France and the United Kingdom on how to better address users' needs

In OECD countries, fiscal reports are increasingly sophisticated, highlighting governments’ commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability towards parliaments and citizens. However, users regularly express concerns with these documents, revealing a fundamental “paradox” with government fiscal reporting: desire for detail and sophistication may come at the expense of clarity. Against this background, this paper looks at four countries (Australia, Canada, France and the United Kingdom) that have endeavoured to resolve this paradox by rationalising their fiscal reporting with the aim of making it more legible for users and draws a short set of implications for other countries looking to strengthen and rationalise their fiscal reporting practices.

JEL Codes: H50, H60, H83

Keywords: fiscal reporting, accountability, transparency                                                    


JEL: H50: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: General; H60: Public Economics / National Budget, Deficit, and Debt / National Budget, Deficit, and Debt: General; H83: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues / Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits
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